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International Women’s Day Lunch 2024

Applejack Women’s Day Lunch 2024

Our friends at Solotel hosted us at wine bar Lil Sis for a special lunch put together by their team of female sommeliers and chefs.

It was the perfect opportunity for the all the female leaders in Applejack to come together, take the afternoon off, and recognise their achievements while enjoying Solotel groups warm hospitality.

The exclusive lunch event included Sydney’s top female sommeliers and chefs from Aria, Chiswick, Opera Bar, Chez Blue and Lil Sis who joined forces to create a delightful menu with paired wines, sharing their love of excellent drops, delicious food and good times.

Applejack Marketing Director, Jo Steuart, and HR Manager Maria Strudwick extended a warm welcome and highlighted the group’s accomplishments. They emphasised the significance of women supporting each other in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Maria proudly announced the growth in female leadership at Applejack venues, with the percentage rising from 38% in 2019 to an impressive 51% in 2024. The news was met with enthusiastic applause, and attendees raised their glasses in celebration.


Going around the venue, the marketing team encouraged everyone to share the name of a woman who had inspired them. From mothers and friends to fellow managers, the exchange of positive impacts and the lessons women had learned from one another created a nurturing and supportive environment.

The food appeared with an introduction about the menu and the chefs who had created it together. Opera Bar chef Naomi Xavier teamed up with Aria’s head pastry chef Aiofe Noonan for a six-course shared menu, which also featured ingredients from top female Australian producers, including Alto Olives, Holy Goat cheese, Singing Magpie figs and Allous chocolate. Highlights included jamon and manchego croquettes with black garlic aioli, chicken ballotine with butternut squash agrodolce, to finish a spectacular coffee cremeux with white chocolate and vanilla cream and Amaretto caramel.

The paired wines included a selection of female winemakers, chosen by Lil Sis somm Zoe Brunton, master of wine and Solotel’s lead sommelier Annette Lacey, Aria’s Vikki Lou Peng, Chiswick’s Georgie Davidson-Brown and Chez Blue’s Eva Santaguida.

Once the food was served and the drinks were flowing, Chef Naomi Xavier, Chef Aoife Noonan and sommelier Zoe Brunton shared their thoughts and the process behind the menu, sharing what it was like working in hospitality and championing females in the industry.


It was a wonderful afternoon and the perfect way to recognise the contributions that our female leaders have made to the success of Applejack.